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Sustainability now a key consideration for consumers when dining out

23 January 2020 by

The increased worldwide focus on the need to preserve resources and manage carbon emissions is driving significant change in consumer behaviour when eating out, according a new report.

Over four in five people (83%) expect hospitality brands to engage on at least some aspect of sustainability, according to the Future Shock report produced by CGA in association with UKHospitality.

The report found that 41% of the 5,000 consumers surveyed would be prepared to pay more to know that their dining experience was a sustainable one.

Meanwhile, 25% said they would pay more for environmentally friendly packaging and 23% for a reduced carbon footprint.

Though some consumers were happy to pay more for these practices, 43% said that taking measures to create a more sustainable product did not justify higher prices.

When asked where their priorities lay, the number one choice was the ethical sourcing of food and drink, which two-thirds of respondents expected to see.

Just over half (54%) expected to see environmentally friendly packaging, while 50% wanted to see evidence of reduced carbon footprint through menu engineering and commodity usage.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "Sustainability is arguably the key issue of our time. It will become more important and hospitality needs to lead efforts to promote sustainability yet further.

"Consumers are challenging hospitality businesses to respond to many more big sustainability-driven changes, Future Shock shows—like a rise in vegan and vegetarian diets and the increasing avoidance of single-use plastics like straws and cups."

Karl Chessell, business unit director, food and retail at CGA, added: "Our research for this edition of Future Shock highlights the mounting importance of sustainability in consumers' choices and behaviour. The environmental impacts of restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels are under intense scrutiny, and all operators will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability as we enter the new decade.

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